What hiring managers are really trying to figure out when they ask, 'What are your hobbies?'

Áine Cain

(Your hobbies can actually give you an edge in a job interview.David Spinks/Flickr)
"What are your hobbies?" sounds like a pretty straightforward question.

The interviewer is just trying to get a sense of your interests and passions, right?

Well... kind of.

Here's what the interviewer is hoping to gauge when they ask you about your hobbies:

1. That you're team oriented

Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job," says:

"Since most jobs involve a certain level of group interaction and support — and cross functional work teams continue to thrive — any kind of activity that you do in your spare time that demonstrates your ability to be a team player, such as playing a team sport or working with a group on a volunteer project, would be well perceived by your prospective boss."

2. That you possess strong leadership skills

"If you lead a group in a leisure activity, such as anything from a book or hiking club to a charitable effort or community activity, that speaks well to your ability to lead on the job," Taylor says.

Not all jobs require leadership or management talent, but those kinds of activities project the desire to make a difference.

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